Monday, October 8, 2012

How many men must die before you get off your ***!

Excuse me for being so straight forward but.....

A large percentage of our population is just plain lazy!  That's right, lazy!  Over 200 years ago men fought for the right to be free from Kings who ruled with absolute power and authority.  They fought for the right to choose their own path in life, to worship the God of their choice and to set in place a new system the world had never seen before.  A system that allows men to choose their leaders in a civil way and respect the end decision of the group as a whole.  They fought and died for your right to VOTE!  I find it rather offensive that only about 50-55% of the voter age Americans in this Country turn out to vote on election day.  I also find it offensive that people get upset or angry that they have to hear political speech on the news or read it on facebook.  I know.  I know.  You're tired of hearing about it and you wish people would just shut up.  Well maybe you should say something, read something or better yet get off your butt and do something in regards to our upcoming election.  No. No.  Instead you will sit and complain about all of those who are doing something, complain again when your favorite candidate loses and yet again when you suffer the consequences of being lazy.  You shouldn't be annoyed by this process.  You should be proud!  You should be happy!  You should fall to your knees and thank Jesus that you have this right.  A right that many more around the world will die to try and achieve.  Don't disrespect those that died for your right to vote.  Get up, get out, get involved and VOTE!  It's what makes us the greatest Nation on the planet!

In my opinion, if you don't vote you're not American, you're lazy!

If I have offended you, TO BAD!  It's my right to do so!  Men fought and died for that right as well.

written by

Lee Newcomb, Realtor
Long and Foster Real Estate

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top 4 reasons your property won't sell!

Yes, there can be multiple reason for a particular piece of property not finding a buyer.  However, they all fall into one of the following categories.  If your property is not selling like you planned then you need to examine the following four examples and get serious about your goals!  Some people will blame the market overall and that of course can play a major roll but property sells in good and bad markets alike.  So why is yours still on the market?  Let me explain.

Reason 1 - Price!

There is no substitute for the correct price!  If you get this step wrong then the rest of what you do will make little difference.  There is a price point for any and all property at which someone will buy it.  Hands down, it never fails.  If you got the right price then your property WILL SELL FAST!  I am not saying you need to give your property away but I am saying you must be realistic.  Sales data from your local area will determine a price at which the market is willing to pay for your property.  If you list your property for more than this number you can expect it to sit on the market for a very long time.  There is absolutely nothing special about your house compared to the others in your neighborhood that justifies selling it for thousands more.  Sorry to be so blunt but it's true.  If similar houses with similar square footage are selling for 125K - 135K and you price yours at 150K because it has a nice flat back yard you are living in la la land!  So ask yourself, "do I want to sell my house for the price the market is willing to pay or not"?  If the answer is no, then save your self a lot of hassle and wait until the sales prices in your neighborhood reflect a price that will satisfy you.  If the answer is yes then price your house according to the data and the condition combined for a price that is fair to all parties involved.  That brings me to the next reason.

Reason 2 - Condition!

The condition of your property is vital to a quick sale.  If the condition of the property is poor then expect to reduce your price accordingly.  A poor conditioned property sells for far less then the amount of repair cost.  Anyone willing to do all that work will want a handsome reward in the form of equity!  You can expect to sell a house that is worth 100K and needs 20K in repairs for about 50-60K.  There is no real equation for this but I have an extensive back ground in flipping houses and I know first hand that investors want a steal deal. 

Moving on here.  If your property is in normal to above average shape then price it accordingly.  For example, if your property has upgrades such as granite counter tops and upgrade bathrooms then you can afford to price your property at the top of the sales data range.  However if your property is in good shape but lacks the upgrades you should list in the middle to lower sales data range.  The point is to stay realistic and take out the emotion.  You are selling a piece of property and it is just like selling anything else.  The quality compared to price must be equal.  You cannot sell a simple pencil for $10.00 no matter how great of a marketing plan you may have in place.  So do yourself a favor.  Do a pre-inspection and make sure your house in great condition to show before anyone ever steps foot inside.  If you do this your sales price will be higher and the time in which it takes to receive it will be cut in half!

Reason 3 - Location!

This is actually a factor that not much can be done about.  It encompasses everything from lot size and shape to overall area of town.  You must emphasize to your potential buyers the reasons for buying in your area.  What is near by?  What is special about your neighborhood?  Do you have a community pool or park?  Is there great shopping near by?  Is the a Military base or any other large community complex?  Find out what is special about your area and advertise it to potential buyers.  In the end, your location is what it is and you cannot change it, so do your best to shine a light on the positives and leave the negatives in the dark.

Reason 4 - Realtor/Marketing!

This is a huge factor that you CAN control!  When choosing a Realtor make certain you hire someone with the passion it takes to sell property in today's market.  Not all Realtors have the drive it takes to get the job done.  There are thousands of Realtors in your area but only a handful work full time and have a great reputation.  Start by doing a google search on anyone you plan to interview.  You can find out a lot about people these days via the internet.  Pick 3 or more Realtors to interview and have your questions ready for them.  The most important question you can ask is "What is your marketing plan?"  If your Realtor doesn't have a plan then they may not be the right person for the job.  It is essential in Real Estate sales to make sure you have an effective marketing plan in action.  This plan must be multi pronged and drive people to view the property.  At the same time the marketing plan must collect potential buyers contact information so that the Realtor can follow up with them.  A successful Realtor must be great at marketing, negotiating and keeping the transaction under control from start to finish.  If you want a fast sale you need a specialist in marketing.  If you want great terms you need a great negotiator and if you want to close on time you need a great project manager.  The best Realtor for the job will be able to do all of things and advise you on how to make sure the first 3 reasons in this article are set up perfectly including the price, condition and location factors.

In Closing!

Don't fool yourself.  If your property has been on the market for an extended time period you need to evaluate the information I just gave you and do it with an open mind.  If all you focus on is your bottom line you will be greatly disappointed because buyers are very smart these days.  They have access to all the sales data via the internet and they are analysing it very carefully.  The average buyer is not going to give you one penny more then your property is worth via the data they have ascertained.  Be fair, be real and you will find a buyer in a reasonable time period.  If you need assistance with a sale or purchase you can contact me, Lee Newcomb, Realtor with Long and Foster at 804-928-4475.  I specialize in hard to sell properties and high end properties in Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond Virginia. 

written by Lee Newcomb, Realtor

Monday, September 10, 2012

Buying? Here's why you need a home inspection
Indeed, more than 40 percent of the previously owned homes on the market have at least one serious defect, according to HouseMaster, a major home inspection company with offices in more than 390 cities in the United States and Canada.
"Virtually every 'used' home needs some repair or improvement," said Kathleen Kuhn, CEO and president of HouseMaster. "That's to be expected. But with today's high prices, you want to make sure that you are aware of any major problems in a house you are considering purchasing, and what it will take to remedy the situation."
Drawing from their own findings from more than one million home inspections, HouseMaster says the most serious home defects to be on the lookout for are:
1.       Cracked heater exchange
2.       Failing air-conditioning compressor
3.       Environmental hazards including radon, water contamination, asbestos, lead paint, and underground storage tanks
4.       Moisture in the basement
5.       Defective roofing and/or flashings
6.       Insect infestation -- termites or carpenter ants
7.       Mixed plumbing
8.       Aluminum wiring
9.       Horizontal foundation cracks
10.   Major house settlement
11.   Undersized electrical system
12.   Chimney settling or separation
Kuhn says most of these problems can be repaired. However, depending on the specific problem, the cost can be substantial, particularly if the defect involves one of the major systems. The cost could become a factor in whether you ultimately buy the house.
For example, a new air conditioning compressor could cost you up to $1,200. A new roof or repairs can cost at least several thousand dollars. A wet basement could cost up to $5,000 to remedy.
If you enter negotiations to buy a particular house, your agent should advise you to provide a provision for renegotiating or backing out of the contract if a home inspector finds major problems.
"If the property inspectors find that little or no corrective work is required, you have little or nothing to negotiate," say Eric Tyson and Ray Brown in their book, Homebuying for Dummies. "Suppose, however, that your inspectors discover the $200,000 house you want to buy needs $20,000 of corrective work for termite and dry-rot damage, foundation repairs, and a new roof. Big corrective work bills can be deal killers."
If repairs are needed, there are several ways to proceed if you still want to buy the house, the Dummies book advises.
1.       The sellers can leave enough money in escrow to cover the cost of repairs, with instructions for the escrow officer to pay the contractors as the work is completed.
2.       The lender can withhold part of the full loan amount in a passbook savings account until the work has been done.
3.       The sellers may give a credit for the work. Lenders may disapprove of this last alternative because there aren't assurances that the repairs will be made.
A home inspection usually costs between $250 and $400. Hire a qualified inspector. Try to get referrals from friends or anyone you know who has had a satisfactory experience with a home inspector. Also, look for affiliations with organizations like the American Society of Home Inspectors or the American Association of Home Inspectors. Both groups require its members to be certified, meet professional qualifications, and adhere to specific business ethics.
Once you make an appointment with a home inspector, it's important to be there.
Your investment of spending these few hours with the inspector could prevent headaches and save time in the future. As the home inspector examines the various systems and components of your home, ask him or her to explain what problems may be encountered down the road, what signs to look for, and how to prevent them. Try to learn how things work and how to maintain them. The inspector may also point out little flaws or oddities that don't measure up to being mentioned in the report, but may warrant keeping an eye on.
Says Kuhn of HouseMasters, "A pre-purchase inspection is your best protection against buying a home based more on emotions, rather than as a sound investment."
Written by Michelle Dawson
Copyright © by Realty Times

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

1st Time Home Buyer Grant Money!

There are many Grant programs available in the Richmond Virginia area for 1st time Home Buyers.  Being as there are so many to choose from I took the liberty to narrow down the best 2 sources.  First off let me say that they are not both Grant funds per say but one of them is actually a down payment assistance program.  Also don't forget that these programs are available for 1st time Home buyers ONLY!  To qualify as a 1st time home buyer you must NOT have owned any property in the last 3 years.  Let's take a closer look at the details of these programs.

First we have a classic Grant Money program which is provided through a local lender to remain nameless.  You will have to contact me directly for this information.  Grant Money is money given to the purchaser at closing and used to pay for down payment, closing cost, and points.  If you qualify for this Grant you will recieve $7,500.00 in grant assistance.  Here is how it works.  This Grant is in conjuction with a specific property you already have a contract to purchase so you would have to qualify for a FHA loan with my lender, qualify for the Grant Funds, and then apply for the Grant Funds after you have a ratified contract to purchase a specific property.  So the things we need to know 1st are:

1. Do you qualify for FHA financing?
2. Do you qualify for the Grant Funds?

To answer question #1 I will have my lender call you and prequalify you over the phone.  To answer question #2 you will need to read below.  Do you meet these requirements to obtain Grant Funds?

Grant Fund Requirements:

1. You must make 41K or less per year.
2. You must have $1,850.00 of your own money to put towards the purchase of the property.
3. You must have a 640 or higher credit score.
4. You must be a 1st time home buyer.

If you meet these basic requirements and you qualify for a FHA loan you should be able to purchase a home using Grant Money.  There are a few other things that must be done but these are the main hurdles.  It's usually smooth sailing if you can meet these requirements.

Now on to Down payment Assistance Money.  This is very similar to Grant Money but the major difference is that the money is not a straight gift.  It is actually recorded as a 2nd mortgage.  However, there is no paymnet due on this 2nd mortgage and it will be forgiven after 5 years.  So if you own the property for 5 years the 2nd mortgage is considered paid in full and wiped clean from the title.  If you sell within 5 years you may own some if not all of the assistance money back!  So it is a little different but it is also easier to qualify.  To qualify you must meet the following requirements and be able to obtain an FHA loan as well.  If approved you will receive 5% of the purchase price in assistance funds to be used at closing for down payment, closing cost, and points.  This program is also in conjunction with a specific lender to remain nameless.  Contact me for details.

Down payment assistance requirements:

1. You must make 41k or less per year.
2. You must have 1% of the purchase price of your own money to put towards the purchase.
3. You must have a 600 or better credit score.
4. You must be a 1st time home buyer.

So as you can see these are both attractive programs and relatively easy to qualify.  Not only that but the time frame for approval is what sets them apart from other programs.  Many Grant and Down Payment Assistance programs take months to get an approval.  I chose these 2 programs because the approval time is much faster.  For the Grant Money approval takes less then 45 days and for the DP assistance money it takes just around 10 days!  That's lightening speed in this industry let me tell you!  Both programs require you to take a short online class that teaches you everything about the programs.  It's very simple and can be done and completed in just about an hour.

If you have any questions or would like to look into purchasing a home with Grant Money or Down Payment Assistance Money please feel free to contact me at your convenience.  I would love to be of assistance to you and help walk you through the process step by step. 

Visit my website for more Real Estate related information @


Lee Newcomb

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reverse Mortgages get a bad rap!

What's the deal with everyone thinking a reverse mortgage is a bad thing?  I think they are excellent!  Especially, "Purchase Money Reverse Mortgages".  For those who don't know what a Purchase Money Reverse Mortgage is, it's a mortgage in which you make no monthly payment on your newly purchased home.  Instead of making a monthly payment the interest payment is added to the existing balance of the loan to be paid off after you die.  The catch is "you must be 62 years or older to qualify" but the best part is "there is no credit check required".  You simply must be over 62 years in age and have sufficient funds to make the downpayment.  The downpayment amount varies pending the age of the applicant and the company processing the loan.  Like all things there are drawbacks.  The main drawback with a purchase money reverse mortgage is that your residence will not be paid for when you die so your hiers do not inherit a home free and clear of debt.  Instead they inherit a home that has a reverse mortgage on it that must be paid off within 6 months.  This means the hier will have to pay back the loan or give the house back to the bank so they can sell it for repayment.  However, the hier does have the opportunity to file a one time 6 month extension.  So in reality the hier can live in the house for up to one year without making a mortgage payment!  Not bad in my eyes.

So let's look at an example of what a 62 year old man/woman could do if they take advantage of a purchase money reverse mortgage.  For the sake of our discussion let's call our client "Dale".  Dale is 62 years old and lives in Amelia.  He decides that it would be best if he moved into Richmond to be closer to his brothers and sisters.  Dale's current residence is paid for but the houses in Richmond cost more then they do in Amelia so he's not quite sure if he can get the house he wants in the City.  Dale gives me a call to see if I can help.  This is what I would tell Dale.  Dale, I checked the value of your current home and it's worth $110,000.00 in our current market.  I'm positive that I can find you a buyer at this price.  After commissions and closing cost you should net roughly $100,000.00 even.  Dale, to get a comparable house in the City it's going to cost you $150,000.00.  Dales says, "Well, I don't want a mortgage payment at my age and I only have $100,000.00 to work with so I guess I either have to buy a smaller house in a not so great neighborhood or stay were I am".  Not so fast Dale!  We can set you up with a Purchase Money Reverse Mortgage and everything will work out just great, PLUS you will have cash in your pocket and NO MORTGAGE PAYMENT as well.  So I take Dale to the mortgage specialist and run the numbers for him.  They come out like this:

Dale = 62yrs of age
Money to work with from sale of existing home = $100,000.00
Purchase price of new residence Dale wants to offer on = $150,000.00
Downpayment required = 46% or $69,000.00
closing cost = financed in to mortgage roughly $12,000.00

Dale's figures: $100,000.00  from sale of existin home, est.
                         -$  69,000.00 Down payment on future home, est.
cash leftover  $ 31,000.00  cash left over, est.

Financed amount = $92,000.00 reverse mortgage amount, est.

So in the end, Dale has a new $150,000.00 valued house in the City just like he wanted.  He has NO MORTGAGE PAYMENT to make each month as the interest is added back to the overall loan amount automatically each month to be paid of after he dies.  Plus, Dale has $31,000.00 to do with as he pleases!  I think Dale got a pretty sweet deal.  Not bad at all. 

Also keep in mind that the older you are the less downpayment is required so you are left with more of your money in your pocket.  My point is, we live this life on a shoe string budget most of our lives.  Why not take advantage of a purchase money reverse mortgage in our old age if we can and live like a King or Queen in our golden years?  If I last that long, I promise you I'm taking advantage of this sweet deal!

If you would like to take a closer look at "Purchase Money Reverse Mortgages" for yourself or a family member feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email!  I would be delighted to walk you through the process from start to finish.

As always, your referrals are welcomed and very much appreciated!  :)

Lee Newcomb, Realtor
Long and Foster Realtors

Monday, March 14, 2011

What's my home worth?

First of all, it's not worth what you think it is!  More then likely it's worth much less.  When I say "worth", I mean "what the market is willing to pay".  What your home is truly worth is determined by you and you alone.  If it's worth 1 million dollars to you then that's what it is worth.  However with an inflated price tag you will never find a BUYER that agrees with you!  SO.......What I want to talk about is Fair Market Value!

There is no perfect way to find your homes Fair Market Value without doing an in depth market analysis.  However, there is a way to get a rough idea and usually it's a fairly accurate indicator.  First you will need to look up your tax assessed value with your local County in which the residence is located.  For example, let's say your homes assesed value was 200k even.  In today's market your home would not sell for over that figure and usually it would find a buyer at a 10-15% discount of that figure.  This equation does not work for new construction, historic homes, and some random neighborhoods that have managed to hold their values fairly well.  In general it does work well for most any run of the mill neighborhood.  If your house was in great shape you would expect to sell for the full 200k in our example but if it needs repairs you would expect to discount that price.  Keep in mind, when I say great shape I mean GREAT SHAPE!  This would include upgraded kitchens and baths as well as being staged and very clean!!!  To get top dollar in this market you need to make your house stand out from the crowd.  To do that you must offer a great price, be in great condition, and be willing to help your buyer out with any assistance he/she may need.  Don't give it away.  Just make sure you stay FAIR and help your qualified buyer!

Now be sure to remember that I am just the messenger here!  I deliver the bad news but I did not create or cause it.  After you use this equation to find the estimated value of your home feel free to email me and cuss me out!  Hahahahaha.  I know, I know......your home is worth more then this equation shows.  I agree with you but if you wanna sell it, you'll have to agree with me at some point.

Have a great day and remember the tissues are on row 3 at Wal-Mart!  ;)


Lee Newcomb, Realtor
Long and Foster Realtors

Friday, March 11, 2011

Real Estate Values 2013!

Everyone knows that Real Estate values are in the dumps right now.  Like all things, nothing lasts forever.  Real Estate values have always increased over the long term and they will again.  What you need to remember about Real Estate is that it's a long term investment not a get rich quick scheme.  Some people seem to have lost sight of this in the midst of a once in a lifetime spike in Real Estate values from 2003 - 2007.  Now everyone is down on Real Estate and all the talk you here is how bad it is but the truth is in the facts and the facts tell a different story.  Yes, your value is not what it was in 2007 but it's still much more then it was in 2000 and that's a fact!  So when will those who bought at the top stop drowning from being under water?  The answer is not a definite but it appears that hear in Richmond Virginia the answer may start with the date 2013.  This is when I expect the values in our area to begin to rise again.  Until then I expect mainly a sideways trend but a dip here and there is still possible.  So why do I say 2013?  Look at the facts, add a few assumptions, and you have good idea of what's going to play out.  If you did this back in 2005 you would have clearly began to see the signs that a collapse was imenent.  Then you might not have bought that overpriced house! 

We have a good amount of foreclosures and short sales on the market today.  This is the key to the fall and it's the key to the future rise as well.  These short sales and foreclosures will not last forever.  The only reason so many of them are on the market now is because lenders were encouraged to give away money to unqualified borrowers and as a result these borrowers defaulted on their loans.  Am I Surprised?  Not exactly!  However, for the last 3 years lenders have been very strict on who they lend to which means you will soon have very few defaults and the existing flood of foreclosures and short sales will dry up.  This will happen faster then you think.  As soon as it appears these foreclosures are drying up the BUYERS will come out of the wood works.  People like to follow the leader so once the buying begins it will snowball.  They key is this, while people have been buying foreclosures and short sales they have NOT been buying new construction.  As a results builders have come to a stand still on construction projects.  Once the foreclosures and short sales dry up people will find that there is a lack of inventory due to stalled building projects.  This will lead to a 1 MILLION HOME SHORTAGE in the Richmond Metro area!  Believe it.  It's true.  You always have to focus on the future because the present is a result of the past and the future a result of the present.  Presently we have the lowest interest rates in over 40 years combined with extremely low home values and lenders who are loosening their purse strings a bit.  Not so loose that we get back in the same situation all over again but loose enough to qualify worthy borrowers.  The only thing holding back the Real Estate market is the economy and high inventory.  The economy is in recovery and the foreclosures and short sales are expected to dry up over the next 12-18 months.  This combined with the assumption that interest rates stay low will lead to a nice reversal in Real Estate trends in the Richmond area and Nation wide by 2013.  That's what the facts tell say but keep in mind the facts change daily.

Visit for more Real Estate related information and to view listings in the Richmond Virginia area.

"And that's my opinion, what's yours?"

Lee Newcomb